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Thread: The F-35 Stealth Fighter - Is it the biggest boondoggle for U.S. military aircraft?

  1. #1 The F-35 Stealth Fighter - Is it the biggest boondoggle for U.S. military aircraft? 
    Forum Masters Degree Double Helix's Avatar
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    Dec 2020
    A recent article in Forbes (1) indicates that the "new" Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II may be doomed to a minor role because of ever increasing complexity and cost, with decreasing reliability. At $100 million per plane, it certainly sounds like bad news.

    The whole project appears to be a real nightmare, especially when you consider the original plan for this fighter was, as the Forbes article notes, to provide an "affordable, lightweight fighter to replace hundreds of Cold War-vintage F-16s". What they got instead was a behemoth of a plane, loaded with too much tech, and not enough performance and reliability.

    The estimated total cost and service of the planned ~ 2,500 F-35s over the life of the contract is well over a trillion dollars (2). But delays in the design and testing of the plane may have resulted in its demise as a great fighter by "slow development". Quoting again from the Forbes article:

    "The complexity added cost. Rising costs imposed delays. Delays gave developers more time to add yet more complexity to the design. Those additions added more cost. Those costs resulted in more delays. So on and so forth."

    and :

    "The 25-ton stealth warplane has become the very problem it was supposed to solve. "

    end quotes

    The article goes on to suggest that the military should start with a new plane design, and make sure such nonsense does not repeat itself. Doubtless Lockheed Martin would insist on continuing the project (3). Surely they have all the fixes, just by adding a few more high-tech items here and there.........

    How could such an incredible blunder happen to such an advanced weapons system? Makes some of us long for the days of the fabulous Grumman F-14 Tomcat, and its long-range intercept capabilities. It would seem dog fighting should be obsolete with advanced weapons systems anyway, and close support might be better accomplished with stealthy drones, and tons of them, for a lot less cost. This certainly appears to be the best course for countries like the Ukraine, with its very antiquated air force (4).





    Last edited by Double Helix; April 10th, 2021 at 11:15 AM.
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